State Sen. Dino Rossi announced Thursday night that he's running for Congress in Washington's 8th District to replace Rep. Dave Reichert, who decided to retire instead of running for reelection.
Here are five things to know about Rossi:
1. He's tried and failed to win state-wide office several times.
He lost the Governor's race to Christine Gregoire in 2004 (by only 133 votes) and in 2008 (by a lot more votes), and failed to unseat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray in 2010. Before this, he served in the state Senate from 1997 to 2003. In December 2016 he was appointed to fill the 45th Legislative District seat, made vacant after the death of Sen. Andy Hill. As Charles Mudede wrote in February, "A death opened the creaking gate to an open seat. The dead, not the living, renewed his political career. This fact makes Rossi even more monstrous than a vampire, which is sustained by the blood of life."
2. He was a Trump supporter who clashed with Never Trump Republicans.
Rossi said Trump was far from his first choice of Republican nominee, but he still supported him over Hillary Clinton, and when Washington state delegates at the Republican National Convention tried to disrupt the proceedings, he called on them to stand by the xenophobic, racist, misogynist candidate.
3. His positions on LGBTQ rights and abortion? We don't know, but probably nothing good.
As Dan Savage wrote in 2010, when Rossi ran for Governor in 2004 and 2008 he wouldn't answer questions about his positions on LGBTQ rights and abortion, "because, he claimed, social issues like gay rights didn't have anything to do with the state." On abortion, he refused to say if he was pro-life or pro-choice, only that "every soul has a value."
He said in 2010 that he was told he could have won the race for Governor if he changed his position on abortion (whatever exactly that position was). But he said, “If I had to change my position on the issue of conscience to be Governor, I’d rather not be Governor.”
Maybe, because it's 2017 (for whatever that's worth, let's be real), he'll be forced to clarify his stances. But until then, we don't know.
4. He's been fighting against light rail since 1995.
Most recently, in February he proposed a bill that would allow local jurisdictions to opt out of paying taxes that fund Sound Transit 3.
5. He'll have a tough race — but don't count on anything.
The 8th District, which includes parts of eastern King and Pierce County as well as central Washington, usually goes to Democratic presidential candidates (Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both carried it after they won the Democratic nomination).
And after Reichert announced his retirement, political analysis site CQ Roll Call designated the 8th District from "Solid Republican" to "Tilts Democratic," noting that the President's party usually does worse in midterm elections, and that with Reichert out, Republicans no longer have an incumbency advantage in the race. Democrats have a chance to turn the district blue.
But The Seattle Times points out that in midterm elections, Republicans have carried the 8th District in every election since the district was drawn in 1986.
Rossi acknowledges the challenge ahead of him, writing in a Facebook post: "I've run in this district and won it handily, but I'm not kidding myself. It's going to be a tough race."
Joel Connelly at the Seattle PI thinks Rossi has a chance, because he came close in some of the previous races he lost. And he has better name recognition than any of the Democrats running for the seat.